FBF8: Facebook Messenger launches AI bots to help you interact with business

By Joe Johns

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of a chatbot store for the social network's Messenger platform during his keynote speech at the F8 developers conference.

"We think you should just be able to message a business, the same way you message a friend," said Zuckerberg. "And you shouldn't have to install a new app." 

"We think you should message a business just the way you would message a friend," Mark Zuckerberg said, later adding with a laugh, "To order flowers on 1-800-Flowers, you never have to call 1-800-Flowers again."

Zuckerberg explained that with AI and natural language processing combined with human help, people will be able to talk to Messenger bots just like they talk to friends.

Through the Messenger Platform’s new Send/Receive API bots can send more than just text. They will be able to respond with structured messages that include images, links, and call to action buttons. These could let users make a restaurant reservation, review an ecommerce order, and more. You can swipe through product carousels, and pop out to the web to pay for a purchase.

A new persistent search bar at the top of Messenger will help people discover bots. For companies already connecting with customers over SMS, a phone number matching tool will let them easily shift those conversations to people’s Messenger account instead, thanks to a partnership with Twilio. To keep people on control, a block button appears at the top of every bot conversation so you can easily silence them.

Facebook have also built powerful discovery tools such as plugins for websites, usernames and Messenger Codes and a prominent search surface in Messenger. Additionally Facebook News Feed ads will enable the opening of threads on Messenger and a new customer matching feature will allow messages that are usually sent through SMS to be sent on Messenger.

Source: Facebook Newsroom - http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2016/04/messenger-platform-at-f8/

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